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The Old Rules of Selling Are Dead

Dave McGarry earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in exercise science and an MBA from the University of Texas, Dallas. Along with his degrees, McGarry is certified through the NSCA as a certified strength and conditioning specialist and is the current fitness director for the Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch. His experience consists of more than 12 years as a personal trainer and fitness manager. McGarry also is actively involved with the community as a public speaker and presenter to corporations for health and wellness. His most recent accomplishment is a self-published book for fitness professionals and personal trainers called “Anatomy of Sales.” If you would like to learn more or read his blog, visit

What do Elvis, vinyl records and traditional selling techniques have in common? They are all dead—even though a small percentage of you still believe Elvis is alive, use vinyl records or are still trying the same old techniques for selling your services or products to consumers. However, it is time to put these ideas to rest, move on and learn new approaches to selling if you want to succeed in today’s economy. Let’s explore those new ways by showing you the old methods and then the new methods you need to adopt in your sales approach.

Prospecting and Positioning
You probably have heard that selling is a numbers game. To some extent, that is correct. However, approaching sales through cold calling takes time and energy, which could be better spent on other revenue-producing activities, such as training or ancillary services. So, a better approach to increasing sales is to position your club in the market. Simply put, positioning is how your market defines you in relation to your competitors. You can establish a good position by answering the following questions:

  1. What makes your club unique?
  2. What benefits do your customers think you provide?
  3. What is your competitive advantage?

It is critical that you answer these questions for positioning to work. Once you have established yourself in the marketplace as the expert, then people will seek you out instead of you having to cold call them.

Control and Trust
The typical sales situation puts the control in the salespeople’s hands, which puts clients in an apprehensive state of mind and makes sales more difficult. Clients are apprehensive because they have been burned before, so they already have a lack of trust even before a pitch is made. Instead of trying to control the situation, begin by building trust with your customers. Listen to their needs and show them that you are there for their benefit, not yours. By building trust, you create clients who will buy over and over and eventually may become your biggest fans. Remember, clients must trust you before they will buy from you.

Close and Value
Tons of books are written on sales closing techniques, and some of the techniques in the books are effective. However, people will buy because they believe the price you are charging is equal to the value they perceive they will get from it. Being shortsighted and concentrating on just the close of the sale can risk the lifetime value of the customer. Create value in a customer’s mind, and you will create a life-long customer.

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